The Best Summer Networking Strategies
When the sun is shining, temperatures are rising and all you want to do is hit the beach, networking is likely the last thing on your mind (right after how much you love humidity and the way it gives your hair a rather bird nest-like quality). However, the job search doesn’t take a vacation –and neither should networking. Consider these ways to make the most of the career building opportunities summer affords savvy jobseekers.
1. Make it Business Casual
You never know when you’ll meet someone who may be able to give you a leg up on your next job –and shared interests are a great way to make a personal connection. Carry your business cards to every outdoor event, be it a summer concert, festival, barbeque or hike. “What do you do?” is a commonly accepted conversation starter, and an easy way to work in a mention of your job search.
2. All Kidding Aside
If you have kids, you can use soccer practice, cheer camp and other child centric extracurricular activities to network with parents. Instead of discussing kids for an hour, talk about everyone’s careers. This is a great opportunity to forge deeper connections with other working parents who understand the challenges raising a family can present in the job market.
3. Give and Get
Carve out time each week to volunteer with a local nonprofit. Whether you’re all about animals, visiting with seniors or mentoring young people, volunteer work can be included on your resume –showing you spent your time between jobs productively. You’ll have the chance to network with other volunteers as well, which could eventually lead to employment opportunities.
4. Lounge the Web
The beach, the pool or a mountain cabin are all great places to spend your summer down time. As long as you have Internet access, you can network while you lounge about. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, create one. Then join groups within your industry and search for topics of interest. Post questions, participate in discussions and connect with other members to build a bigger presence. According to LinkedIn data, more than 80,000 staffing and recruiting firms are active on the site –and you never know who might be watching.
5. Touch Base
Updating your resume is the perfect excuse to call old employers, work contacts and other references –and you need to keep that resume updated if you’re looking for a job. Experts recommend speaking to the people before you list them as references. This includes telling them they are listed, describing the type of job you’re looking for getting a feel for the type of reference they may provide. Do this periodically and you’ll be front-of-mind when they hear about job openings.
Summer is fun –despite the heat, sunburn and bug bites. Keep up your networking as you enjoy the warmer months and you may get a new job as well as a tan.
About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.